‘Cyber minister’ appointed to help firms wage war on internet crime

The Scottish Government is developing an action plan for boosting cyber security, with enterprise minister Fergus Ewing in charge.

Justice secretary Kenny Mac-Askill told delegates at the eCrime Scotland summit in Edinburgh that it was vital to tackle the problem, which was said to be costing Scottish businesses an estimated £5 billion a year.

The Scottish Business Crime Centre, a group set up to tackle crime against firms, said the move would help put the country at the “forefront in the fight to halt e-crime”.

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Mr MacAskill told the conference: “Cyber crime seriously harms businesses and individuals, and it is vital we do all we can to tackle the threat of viruses, hacking attacks, fraud and other information security breaches.

“The Scottish Business Crime Centre is leading on important work in this area. At government level, we are also developing a cyber security action plan to take forward a number of areas of work, overseen by Fergus Ewing, minister for energy, enterprise and tourism, with responsibility for the wider cyber security agenda.”

The crime centre’s executive director, Mandy Haeburn- Little, said the announcement of a “cyber minister” was an important step forward in dealing with the issue, and provided recognition of the scale and importance of cyber crime in Scotland.

“Cyber crime is not a fad or an issue solely for IT specialists, it is a clear and present danger for all businesses,” she said.

“We estimate that Scots businesses are losing around £5bn a year to cyber criminals. That figure should concern every business boss and employee in Scotland.

“But the reality is that much of the threat of e-crime can be eradicated by simple and inexpensive measures.”